Stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime industry, as well as some foreign investors in the free zones, have backed measures being implemented by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, to reform the ports and attract foreign investment.
In separate interviews in Lagos, the stakeholders said the NPA reforms had restored investors’ confidence in the maritime industry and the economy at large and hailed the reappointment of Ms Bala-Usman as MD of NPA.
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The Chairman of the Nigeria Port Consultative Forum, Mr Kunle Folarin, said the federal government was no doubt at ease with the drive by Bala-Usman to ensure that the right thing was done at all times.
According to him, with her blueprint, the ports are well positioned to serve as alternative to crude oil in terms of revenue generation.
He said, “The first thing is that in the last four years, the ports have been recognised as the alternative source of income to the federal government, apart from oil.
“Hadiza Bala came and identified all the loopholes in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of the various agreements signed by the NPA over the years and she stopped them.
“It takes courage to do all those things. There are some contracts where the agency was paying about $400m; she stopped it and somebody in the authority must have allowed all that before she came, but she blocked all the loopholes.”